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Satcom 1, 2, 3, 3R, 4

Satcom 1 [RCA]

Satcom 1, 2, 3, 3R and 4 were the first generation of geostationary comsats built for RCA Americom.

These satellites were built by RCA Astro using their three-axis stabilized AS-3000 bus, which became the base for several other comsats too. They featured a 24 C-band transponder communications payload. The antenna featured four gridded overlapping reflectors.

The satellites required the development of a more powereful version of the Delta launch vehicle, the Delta-3914, which was partially financed by RCA.

Satcom 1 was launched on launched 13 December 1975. It was replaced in summer 1983 by Satcom 1R and was finally put in a graveyard orbit in June 1984 and turned off.

Satcom 2 followed on 26 March 1976. It was replaced in fall of 1983 by Satcom 2R and then was turned off and moved above synchronous orbit.

Satcom 3 was successfully launched on 7 December 1979, but the satelite was lost, when the apogee engine was fired.

Satcom 3R was orbited on 19 November 1981 as a replacement for Satcom 3. It operated a 131 West.

Satcom 4 was launched on 15 January 1982 and placed on the 82 West position.

This series was succeeded by the advanced Satcom series.

Nation: USA
Type / Application: Communication
Operator: RCA Americom
Contractors: RCA Astro
Equipment: 24 C-band transponders
Configuration: AS-3000
Propulsion: SVM-7 (#1, 2, 3); Star-30B (3R, 4)
Power: 2 deployable solar arrays, batteries
Lifetime: 7 years (#1, 2); 8 years (#3, 3R, 4)
Mass: 868 kg, 465 kg (BOL) (#1, 2)
Orbit: GEO
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
Satcom 1 1975-117A 13.12.1975 CC LC-17A Delta-3914
Satcom 2 1976-029A 26.03.1976 CC LC-17A Delta-3914
Satcom 3 1979-101A 07.12.1979 CC LC-17A Delta-3914
Satcom 3R 1981-114A 20.11.1981 CC LC-17A Delta-3910 PAM-D
Satcom 4 1982-004A 16.01.1982 CC LC-17A Delta-3910 PAM-D


  • Donald H. Martin: Communication Satellites, Aerospace Press, 1991, p 159-165
Further Satcom missions:

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